Monday, August 11, 2008

Ante Markovic's testimony

Ante Markovic's testimony by Novi List
‘Milošević and Tuđman admitted they had agreed to divide Bosnia-Herzegovina’

‘Slobodan Milošević and Franjo Tuđman confirmed to me personally that at their meeting in Karađorđevo in March 1991 they agreed to divide Bosnia-Herzegovina between Serbia and Croatia’, declared Ante Marković on 23 October 2003 at the trial of Slobodan Milošević in The Hague, at which he was appearing as a witness for the prosecution.

Ante Marković, the last Yugoslav premier, stated: ‘I was informed about the subject of their discussion in Karađorđevo, at which Milošević and Tuđman agreed to divide Bosnia-Herzegovina between Serbia and Croatia, and to remove me because I was in their way.’ He said that he met afterwards with Slobodan Milošević, then president of Serbia, in Belgrade, and with the late Croatian president Franjo Tuđman in Zagreb, and that he told them openly that he knew about their accord. ‘They both confirmed that they had agreed on dividing Bosnia-Herzegovina. Milošević admitted this immediately, while Tuđman took more time’, said Ante Marković in reply to questioning by chief prosecutor Geoffrey Nice.

According to him, both the late Croatian president and the defendant Milošević believed that Bosnia-Herzegovina was an artificial creation and the Bosniaks an invented nation, since in Tuđman’s view they were ‘converted Catholics’ and in Milošević’s ‘converted Orthodox’. The two also believed that the division of Bosnia-Herzegovina would not cause a war, since the Serbs and the Croats together were in a majority; they envisaged an enclave for the Bosniaks. They expected to receive support from Europe, since the latter did not wish to have a Muslim state. Tuđman also told him that history would repeat itself in that Bosnia would again fall ‘with a whisper’, the witness said.

Marković affirmed that he warned both leaders that this would lead to war, deaths, refugees and the transformation of Bosnia into a Palestine; that blood would freely flow; and he told them that he himself would fight against it.

Marković stated that he told this to the Bosniak leader Alija Izetbegović, who gave him some secretly made tapes of conversations between Milošević and Radovan Karadžić, concerning the arming of the Bosnian Serbs by way of the JNA as part of the so-called RAM [framework] Plan. Marković laid this information before his government, but the Slovene admiral Stane Brovet insisted that the JNA had nothing to do with it, stated Marković.

Ante Marković, who was prime minister of Yugoslavia from March 1989 until his resignation in December 1991, said that this was the first time in the past twelve years that he had made public his views on these events.

In his subsequent testimony against the former president of FRY, Yugoslavia’s last premier Ante Marković said that during the 1990s Milošević was ‘obviously striving to create a Greater Serbia. He said one thing and did another. He said that he was fighting for Yugoslavia, while it was clear that he was fighting for a Greater Serbia, even though he never said so personally to me.’

Testifying about military activities in 1991, he described the attack on Slovenia of 26 June for which some hold him responsible. He insisted that he was not responsible for it, and that as prime minister he had no control over the JNA. The Slovenian president Milan Kučan informed him about the attack by telephone, while the Yugoslav minister of defence Veljko Kadijević told him: ‘Since we knew you wouldn’t agree, we didn’t bother to ask you.’

Marković also described his participation in the peace talks at The Hague in September 1991, during the time of the shelling of Dubrovnik. The witness stated that when he asked Milošević how he could shell a city like Dubrovnik, he got the reply that ‘no one is shelling Dubrovnik’; and when he turned to Tuđman, the latter replied: ‘you heard what Milošević said’. ‘Tuđman was not against the shelling of Dubrovnik and Vukovar, if this added to the argument for independence’, was Marković’s view. He described in the courtroom also the missile attack on the Ban’s Court [the Croatian president’s office] in October 1991, during which quite by chance he was not killed together with Tuđman and Stipe Mesić (who was then a member of the Yugoslav presidency).

The prosecutor asked whether their meeting had lasted long enough for information about it to be sent outside Croatia and for the planes to arrive. Marković replied in the affirmative, saying that: ‘it lasted four and a half hours, and they sent their fastest planes, most likely MIG-29s, which fired their missiles from the great height of 14-15 kilometres.’ Marković went on: ‘A missile hit the dining room, and if we had stayed a little longer at our lunch I should not be here to testify.’

In a brief cross-examination Milošević tried to prove that it was Marković who sent the JNA against Slovenia, quoting the minutes of a meeting at which he and Milan Kučan asserted this; but Marković denied it. Prior to his appearance in the courtroom, Marković was registered as protected witness C-62.

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